Manatee County needs to solve surge in violent crime

August 14, 2013 

Manatee County residents! Wake up and look around you. Not a day goes by that we don't read about at least one shooting that occurred in our community, and no part of town is "safe" anymore.

Just recently, two vehicles exchanged gunfire and a stray bullet entered a home, severely injuring a 4-year-old boy. A man holding his 5-year-old child was shot and killed where young football players were practicing and hundreds of people were watching. Two groups of gunmen recently fired at each other in the parking lot of a convenience store, and on the same day, a man standing by his car in his driveway was shot at. On Aug. 5, four gunmen in the back of a pickup truck fired 16 rounds at a home, and on Monday, the Herald reported that two armed men robbed a McDonald's in Creekwood.

Home invasions in our county are rampant and burglaries abound. Women are robbed at gunpoint in parking lots. Many, especially older people, are afraid to leave their homes after dark. It is unacceptable that we should have to live like this in a place many people call "paradise!"

I moved here to what I considered "paradise," and now, nearly 30 years later, I find I am living in a war zone! Something must be done!

On the Internet, prospective tourists are threatening to boycott Florida and vacation elsewhere because they will not feel safe here. Manatee County cannot afford to lose the tourist trade because it is a large part of our tax base.

More important, however, is the senseless loss of life, and the fear pervading our community.

Nearly 1,000 residents showed up to protest the planned development of Long Bar Pointe. Can we get even half that many to protest crime and demand whatever changes may be necessary to curtail it?

Carol Gazell

Bradenton

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